Briefing and Consultations on the AU-UN Hybrid Operation in Darfur and a Briefing on Guinea
Tomorrow morning (23 October), the Security Council is scheduled to hold a briefing and consultations on the quarterly report of the Secretary-General on the AU-UN Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID). Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hervé Ladsous is expected to brief and the UNAMID Joint Special Representative, Mohamed Ibn Chambas, may also participate via video teleconferencing. Following this meeting, Council members are expected to be briefed by Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman under “any other business” on the situation in Guinea following inconclusive elections.
A major concern among Council members is the deteriorating security situation in Darfur, marked by significant inter-communal violence and large-scale displacement of civilians. The recent report of the Secretary-General notes that between 1 July and 30 September approximately 166,600 people have been displaced as a result of the violence. Council members may be interested in a discussion of the reasons for the deterioration of the security situation and what measures can be taken to address it. The Secretary-General has pointed to fighting over land and natural resources as the immediate cause of this fighting, while some human rights organisations have reported that government forces have played a role in some of the inter-communal violence over the past year. It has likewise been argued that members of the Sudanese Central Reserve Police and the Border Intelligence Brigade, which have absorbed some of the former Janjaweed, have perpetrated violent acts as part of tribal militias.
A related concern among Council members–especially Pakistan, Rwanda and Togo, who contribute peacekeepers to the mission–is the heightened violence against UNAMID personnel, with several fatal attacks in recent months. Most recently, four UNAMID peacekeepers were killed in two separate incidents in El Fasher, North Darfur on 11 October and El Geneina, West Darfur on 13 October. On 14 October, the Council issued a press statement condemning these attacks and calling on Sudan to investigate them and bring those responsible to justice. Following consultations on Mali on 16 October, the UK asked for a briefing under “any other business” at which Edmond Mulet, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, provided further details of these assaults.
At tomorrow’s briefing, Council members may be interested in any new information Ladsous may have on the attacks as well as what steps can be taken to improve the safety of UNAMID personnel. A related concern is the apparent lack of progress by Sudan in investigating the violence against UNAMID staff in recent months, an issue which may also be brought up in the consultations.
Ladsous will also likely discuss developments related to the implementation of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD). According to the Secretary-General’s report, some participants of the DDPD’s Implementation Follow-up Commission– which includes, inter-alia, the AU, EU, OIC, the permanent members of the UN Security Council, Sudan and other interested states– “expressed concern about the slow pace of implementation and the adverse impact of intercommunal fighting on reconstruction and development efforts in Darfur” when they last met on 23 September. Additionally, several of the rebel groups continue to refuse to negotiate with the government of Sudan on the basis of the DDPD.
Council members have different views on the DDPD. Several members argue that the DDPD provides a solid basis for the peace process. These members largely fault the non-signatory rebel groups for their failure to engage in meaningful negotiations with Sudan, and believe that imposing sanctions on the rebel groups might be an effective way to compel them to join the peace process. There is also a growing belief in the Council that the dire economic situation facing Khartoum makes it very difficult for it to implement the DDPD. Others, however, are more inclined to blame the government of Sudan for what they perceive as a lack of commitment to implement the agreement.
More broadly, Council members appear to be frustrated by the lack of progress made in Darfur on a number of fronts. It is clear to Council members that there has been limited, if any progress, on the four benchmarks outlined for UNAMID by the Secretary-General (S/2012/771, annex I), including the achievement of a comprehensive and inclusive settlement to conflict, a stable and secure environment throughout Darfur, the ability of Sudan to uphold the rule of law and human rights, and a stabilised humanitarian situation.
With respect to Guinea, Council members are likely to be interested in hearing more about developments in the country following complaints by the opposition over the 28 September legislative elections. An agreement to hold these long-delayed elections in September was signed in Conakry on 3 July between the government and opposition parties, following a UN-mediated inter-Guinean political dialogue launched on 28 March. On 3 October, opposition groups rejected the partial results that were released and pulled their representatives out of the electoral commission the following day. On 18 October, the National Independent Electoral Commission released the provisional results of the elections, according to which the incumbent party of President Alpha Condé won 53 seats (falling short of the 58 needed for an outright majority), the Union des forces démocratiques de Guinée (UFDG) of Cellou Dalein Diallo won 37 seats, and the Union des forces républicaines (UFR) of former Prime Minister Sidya Touré secured 10 seats. While the release was welcomed by the Secretary-General, the opposition filed a complaint on 19 October with the Supreme Court calling for the complete annulment of the vote. It seems that deliberations by the Supreme Court could take weeks and there is concern that in the meantime heightened tensions could lead to violence.
Feltman is also likely to convey the observations of Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the UN Office for West Africa (UNOWA) Said Djinnit, who was an observer to the election.
Council members were last briefed on Guinea by Feltman under “any other business” on 25 April following which it issued a press statement on 29 April expressing concern over the volatile situation in the country (SC/10992). Guinea was also one of the issues discussed in a briefing on 10 July 2013 by Djinnit on the work of the UNOWA.